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Snowdonia Way – Part 2

Wednesday 25th July – Beddgelert to Dolwyddelan (20.6km, 800m) After a long day yesterday, we started a little bit later leaving at 9.30am from Beddgelert.  It was already warm first thing in the morning and we prepared ourselves for a hot days walking.  The start of the day was a mellow 10km walk upstream passing two natural lakes with mountains on all sides.  After lunch by the river the day was about to get a lot tougher with 300m height gain in under 2km.  The higher we walked the better the views of Crib Goch and the tallest mountain in these lands, Snowdon, which spurred the group on to the top.  The view was made even better with no clouds and a couple of helicopters thrown in for added effect! Once over the Col we waved goodbye to the views over Snowdon and started down towards Dolwyddelan.  The cumulative effect of a number of long days in hot weather definitely took its toll on the group and every undulation was felt including the last 50 m or so climb before Dolwyddelan castle opened up before us where a good view down to our finish could be seen.   Enjoying the sun on The Snowdonia Way   Thursday 26th July – Dolwyddelan – Bethesda (21.5km, 660m) This was the day that many had been looking forward to, with a great low level walk through the Ogwen valley with views over the Carneddau and the Glyders and it seriously did not disappoint.  We started walking steeply uphill out of Dolwyddelan on forest tracks that warmed our legs up but kept us nice and cool as temperatures outside the forest started to rise.  On leaving the forest we had great views of Moel Siabod which we contoured until dropping into Capel Curig. The next 6 km were simply spectacular, views of Snowden, Tryfan, Pen yr Ole Wen to name just a few of the 3,000ft peaks visible in the clear skies today.  We crossed over to the other side of the valley and followed Llyn Ogwen around it’s North side, who’s path was more akin to the uneven, rock hopping paths you see on the way up to many of the peaks in the Snowden national park.  Thankfully the RAF had got my text and right on cue one of their fighter jets screamed past us banking from one side to the other like a scene out of Top Gun – “I feel the need for speed!” (for all the top gun fans out there!). For us it has been unusual to pass a cafe and more unusual to pass a cafe at lunch and so we all had a chance to get ice cream and cold drinks to enjoy in the shade for once.  In the afternoon the route continued down the valley towards Bethesda.   We pasted swathes of slate spoil due to only 10% of slate mined being usable for milling and past an insanely long zip wire across the mine.  Another day finished along the Snowdonia Way and one that I hope will stay with the team for a very long time as it certainly didn’t disappoint.   Friday 27th July – Bethesda – Llanfairfechen (18.9km – 920m) There comes a point when the legs get used to walking every day including tackling significant hills and this day came for just about everyone today.  Another hill start this morning and no-one even broke a sweat as they steamed up the 200m ascent to just below Moel Faban.  Contouring around the northern slopes of the Carnedau gave views of Anglesey, puffin island, numerous wild ponies (to Lyndsey’s delight) and the sea.  The terrain under foot as we contoured was perfect for walking and within no time at all a corner was turned and our first glimpse of Aber Falls, a 35m waterfall were seen.  When we arrived there was a great spot to sit on the grass, admire the view and eat our lunch…..or have a snooze….again……not naming names. As the clouds from the west thickened we started the 350m ascent that would take us out of the valley and bring us close to the finish for the day, Llanfairfechen.  With only a couple of kilometres  to go it rained which was the first time since we started the trek 6 days ago, it wasn’t heavy but it rained enough that the smell of Petrichor was in the air… that refreshing smell after rainfall that I personally love. The day seemed to go fast today and no sooner had we set off from the minibus was it again visible on the outskirts of the village at our destination.  All aboard and off to our accommodation and preparations for the last day.    Saturday 28th July Llanfairfechan – Conwy (16.5km – 760m) How is it the end of the week already! A sign of memorable walks and great company – Marles, Marita and Alex enjoyed talking throughout every day about every topic under the sun that also included debates such as todays – the pro’s and con’s of sheet toppers – classic! Having good weather for the trail has been super but it was nice to have blustery weather and rain on and off for one day. As was the usual patten we started the day up a good hill and onto stunning moorland with ancient stone circles, fantastic views over the sea and the contrasting colours of gorse, heather and bracken.   After dropping down to Sychnant Pass our last last ascent of our trip was ahead and the descent to Conwy with views of the castle and walls that surround the town.  Sometimes trails can feel like an anticlimax at the end but this one doesn’t.  Having travelled nearly 100 miles north through the Snowdonia National Park, finishing by the sea with no where further to go and a spectacular looking castle was no anti climax.  High fives and congratulations all round for a great journey and a great group of people. 6 people started the 97 miles as strangers but through the shared effort, a common interest and plenty of time to exchange stories they no doubt have left as friends.  If you like the sound of the trail then Thistle Trekking run a number of guided walking holidays along The Snowdonia Way every year, to find dates for the next trek just visit our Snowdonia Way page.   Conwy - The End of The Snowdonia Way